Ah the joys of Stone Brewing. I’ve had this bottle of Double Bastard for over a year, and I said “screw it, I’m drinking it.”
What stands out about this beer, along with Stone’s regular pale ale and Arrogant Bastard ale, is that there’s a pronounced hoppiness and a pronounced maltiness that don’t cancel each other out. In reading The Craft of Stone Brewing, I discovered that Arrogant Bastard was derived from a test batch of Stone pale ale that went wrong (they put too many of the same ingredients in for the batch size). What came out was so good, despite being a big mistake from what they intended to make, that they made a whole new brew out of it. Obviously, their creation was a huge success, because arrogant bastard is one of the best beers on the planet, and has been a big commercial hit for the brewery too. I can only assume that they continued this evolution to create double bastard. You can see, taste and smell all the same great ingredients in all three beers.
It pours a somewhat cloudy, reddish-brown color with a 1/2 finger head that dissipates into a sheen and leaves thin sheets of lacing that cover the glass.
Aroma is heavily malty, with sweet citrus and lots of hops. You can detect a bit of alcohol already, although at 11.2%, this is to be expected.
Flavor is a BOMB of a monster of a beer! American strong ale is right, and this may be the quintessential example of the style (which, BTW, has been hit or miss for me). The flavors are so strong that they seem to permeate your tongue. So much maltiness that you’ll think you died and went to malt heaven. It’s a bit barleywine-esque in that sense, in fact there is probably a lot of overlap between this beer and a good barleywine. Hops wise you’re once again about to cry uncle, unless you’re a hop-head (like me), in which case you’re just marveling at the saturation of intense flavors that they manage to cram into a single brew. Piney citrus from the hops is notable. It’s also quite fruity, with light and mixed mid/dark fruit flavors coming through. Really your taste buds can’t decide which way to go, but they keep coming back for more.
Feel wise it’s thick, rich, somewhat slick, and downright delicious, with a lingering malty and bitter hop aftertaste.
Overall, you just need one word. Stone.
A direct quote from the Stone Brewery, and the full text of what’s on the back of the bottle:
This is one lacerative muther of an ale. It is unequivocally certain that your feeble palate is grossly inadequate and thus undeserving of this liquid glory…and those around you would have little desire to listen to your resultant whimpering. Instead, you slackjawed gaping gobemouche, slink away to that pedestrian product that lures agog the great unwashed with the shiny happy imagery of its silly broadcast propaganda. You know, the one that offers no challenge, yet works very, very hard to imbue the foolhardy with the absurd notion that they are exercising ‘independent’ thought, or attempts to convey the perception it is in some way ‘authentic’ or ‘original.’ It’s that one that makes you feel safe and delectates you into basking in the warm, fuzzy, and befuddled glow of your own nescience. Why so many allow themselves to be led by the nose lacks plausible explanation. Perhaps you have been so lulled by the siren song of ignorance that you don’t even notice your white-knuckle grip on it. You feel bold and unique, but alas are nothing but sheep, willingly being herded to and fro. If you think you are being piqued in this text, it is nothing when compared to the insults we are all asked to swallow streaming forth from our televisions and computers. Truth be told, you are being coddled into believing you are special or unique by ethically challenged “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” marketers who layer (upon layer) imagined attributes specifically engineered to lead you by the nose. Should you decide to abdicate your ability to make decisions for yourself, then you are perhaps deserving of the pabulum they serve. Double Bastard Ale calls out the garrulous caitiffs who perpetrate the aforementioned atrocities and demands retribution for their outrageously conniving, intentionally misleading, blatantly masturbatory and fallacious ad campaigns. We demand the unmitigated, transparent truth. We demand forthright honesty. We want justice! Call ‘em out and line ‘em up against the wall… NOW.